When the Blue Heron Flies

My new book is out. Entitled When the Blue Heron Flies, the book is a collection of prayer-poems meant to nourish the spirit.

Bishop Robert Morneau of Green Bay (a good friend of mine) wrote the foreword. In it he says, “Sister Melannie is a ‘noticer.’ She was probably born with ‘n.b.’ tattooed on her heart: nota bene, note well. In this book she ponders the tilt of the earth, skunks and blue herons, her mother’s yellow jacket, biblical figures like the bent woman, Bartimaeus, Habakkuk, and the Magi, the experiences of homesickness and perfectionism, the nature of grief and space.”

Each poem in the book is followed by a brief reflection, suggested Scripture passages, and questions that hopefully will lead the reader to prayer and play.

Let me share two of the poems with you today, plus one of the reflection questions for each poem:

“The Blue Heron”

At the edge of the lake
the blue heron stands motionless
on stately legs.
Poised. Waiting.
In a flash he pierces the water
with his sharp beak,
catching a small fish.
Throwing back his head
he lets the fish slide whole
down his elegant throat.
All the while he fishes,
he eyes the man with pole and line
planted on the other shore.

Later back at his nest,
the heron tells his wife:
“Poor humans!
They have two stumps for legs,
no neck to speak of,
and they’re totally beakless!
What a pity!”

Reflection question: What aspects of a certain bird or animal do you notice and admire? Why?

“The Road to God”

The road to God
is not long.
You need not cross the sea
to find Divinity.
You need not trek across vast plains
or barren deserts,
nor hack through dense jungles.
You need not scale jagged mountains
jutting into the skies.

No, you have only to pause
and be still.
Then take that single step
into the deep center
of who you are.

Reflection question: What is the “single step” you might take today to enter “the deep center/ of who you are”?

When the Blue Heron Flies is published by Twenty-Third Publications. It is available from them and from my Amazon.com bookstore. Soon it will also be available in The Gallery at our provincial center in Chardon, Ohio.


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  1. Mo on May 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Melannie, while reading the peom about the Blue Heron I felt laughter within. You have an unique way of saying what you with and with a smile I bet on your face. Your questions lead one to the deeper level. I look forward to reading your new book.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on May 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Dear Mo, I’m glad my little poem made you smile! Your comment made me smile! Melannie

  2. Ellen Svette Huntsman on May 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I am a fan of the Great Blue Heron. Loved your poem! Yes, made me smile as well.

    Can’t wait to get a copy.

    Blessings my Sister

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